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St. Louis TV anchorman fired over Facebook posting

St. Louis TV anchorman fired over Facebook posting

May 23rd, 2013 in News

ST. LOUIS (AP) - A veteran TV anchorman has been fired in the wake of comments he made on the station's Facebook page claiming "pressure" by the IRS following his 2012 interview with President Barack Obama.

KMOV-TV announced the firing of Larry Conners on its website Wednesday. Conners later told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch that his Facebook posting simply raised questions about the possibility of an Internal Revenue Service vendetta. The posting followed national stories about the IRS targeting conservative political groups.

KMOV President and General Manager Mark Pimentel said in a statement that the posting of a personal political opinion on one of the station's Facebook pages "creates an appearance of bias that is inconsistent with important journalistic standards."

Conners, 66, was an anchor in St. Louis for 37 years, the past 27 at KMOV.

In an interview last year with Obama, Conners questioned the president's travel expenditures.

In a May 13 Facebook posting, Conners wrote: "I don't accept "conspiracy theories,' but I do know that almost immediately after the interview, the IRS started hammering me. Can I prove it? At this time, no. But it is a fact that since that April 2012 interview ... the IRS has been pressuring me."

A day after the posting, Conners read a statement on the 5 p.m. newscast saying his issues with the IRS began before his interview with the president. The IRS claims Conners and his wife owe more than $85,000 in taxes from 2008-10.

Conners told the Post-Dispatch that he had been on a payment plan with the IRS, but that after the Obama interview, the plan was cancelled and a lien was placed on his home in Clayton.

The IRS declined comment.